The New York Jets Would Not Cripple Geno Smith by Benching Him


Nov 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M

Sunday was another rough outing for the Jets’ young quarterback, Geno Smith. He only managed to complete 9 out of 22 passes for 127 yards and two more interceptions. Granted, Smith was not the only reason for the poor play. The receivers did very little to get open, and the offensive line had Geno Smith running for his life for most of the afternoon. Still, a 22 passer rating is nothing ever to write home about.

So, the debate has begun. It started during the game, that Matt Simms should have been brought in. Is it time to let Geno Smith sit on the bench for a while? Should we give Matt a chance to play? The debate raged on, especially on Jets Twitter.

Well, yesterday, we heard that the debate is over. At least for this week, Rex Ryan and the Jets are going to continue with Geno Smith at quarterback. He gives them “the best chance to win”. Where have we heard THAT before? Sorry, had to get that out. But anyway, the decision has been made.

But is it the RIGHT decision? I am not so sure.

A big portion of this debate revolves around what the effect would be on Geno Smith. Would taking him out of the lineup stunt his development? The argument is that he needs reps, and he should stay out there, through thick or thin. And he will grow through reps, there is no doubt about that. He will improve as he plays.

But, the other side of the coin is in Smith’s performance. In order to determine whether or not leaving him out there is a good idea, you have to take a look at his most recent performances. Is he improving? Are there signs that he is getting better, or are the signs more troubling? Let’s talk about it.

Over his last five starts, Geno Smith had his high mark with the passer rating against New England (71.9). His next four performances were as follows: 51.9, 62.4, 10.1, and 22.3. Starting with the game against New England, Geno has thrown one touchdown pass to go along with eight interceptions.

This is not evidence of moving in the right direction.

The most telling stat for me is that in the last 31 possessions, the offense has posted one touchdown. One. The touchdowns have gone backwards, and the interceptions have continued. Furthermore, it seems that as the interceptions have continued, his confidence has waned. Frankly, he doesn’t appear ready to lead this group. He looks more like the guy that played against the Giants in the preseason.

But, Geno has had his moments. His game-winning drives in his rookie season have been a window into how special he can be. He is not there yet, this much is clear.

Sometimes, when you give a guy a chance to watch from the sidelines, he can get a new view on what he is doing, one that he never got while on the field. Watching and learning can be invaluable. He can get a perspective on the mistakes he is making, without continuing to make them.

And it won’t kill him. His career would not end if he were benched for a couple of weeks. Let’s be honest. We are not talking about a number one overall pick here. If this were Andrew Luck, I might buy the argument that sitting him would be a problem. But second round quarterbacks aren’t guaranteed to start their first year, much less every game.

John Elway didn’t start every game his rookie season. It worked out OK for him.

The Jets are still in a race. Geno Smith is not playing well, and is getting frustrated by it. He should be given some time to take a step back and reflect. It would help him a lot, and might make him a better quarterback in the end.